The misconstrued Gospel passage
When the Papist heresy severed itself from
the Lord’s Church, it began to look for passages from the
Holy Bible for the purpose of justifying the Pope’s
authority, to render him an absolute monarch amongst
the faithful. And indeed, given that the Holy Bible is such
a voluminous Book, there are numerous passages therein,
which every heresy can resort to (after purposely
misconstruing them), in order to support its views.
But the Holy Bible is no ordinary book, and
the passages that are misconstrued for the purpose of
serving the one or the other cacodoxy,
when seen in the light of the remaining Scripture, not only
cease to serve the falsifier, they actually become weapons
that turn against him, exposing his deception and his lies.
Thus, we shall now proceed to examine very carefully the specific
passage that has undergone distortion for the purpose of
serving the interests of Papism, and show how its proper
interpretation does, indeed, expose the falsifiers….
The passage in question is Matthew
However, for the topic of this discussion to be better
comprehended, we shall firstly present the passage along
with its English rendition, from verse 13 to 20,
Original (Greek) text
Ελθών δε ο Ιησούς εις τα μέρη Καισαρείας της
Φιλίππου ηρώτα τους μαθητάς αυτού λέγων· τίνα με
λέγουσιν οι άνθρωποι είναι τον υιόν του ανθρώπου;
14 οι δε είπον· οι μεν Ιωάννην τον
βαπτιστήν, άλλοι δε Ηλίαν, έτεροι δε Ιερεμίαν ή ένα
15 λέγει αυτοίς·
υμείς δε τίνα με
16 αποκριθείς δε Σίμων Πέτρος είπε·
συ ει ο Χριστός ο υιος του Θεού του ζώντος.
17 και αποκριθείς ο Ιησούς είπεν αυτώ:
Μακάριος ει, Σίμων Βαριωνά, ότι σαρξ και αίμα ουκ
απεκάλυψέ σοι, αλλ’ ο πατήρ μου ο εν τοις ουρανοίς.
18 καγώ δε σοι λέγω ότι συ ει Πέτρος,
και επί ταύτη τη πέτρα οικοδομήσω μου την εκκλησίαν,
και πύλαι άδου ου κατισχύσουσιν αυτής.
σοι τας κλείς της βασιλείας των ουρανών, και ό εάν
δήσης επί της γης, έσται δεδεμένον εν τοις ουρανοίς,
και ό εάν λύσης επί της γης, έσται λελυμένον εν τοις
20 τότε διεστείλατο τοις μαθηταίς
αυτού ίνα μηδενί είπωσιν ότι αυτός εστιν Ιησούς ο
come to the regions of
asked His disciples,
do the people say that I, the son of man, am?”
say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others
say Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets.” .
says to them:
say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter responded, and said:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And in response, Jesus said to him:
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and
blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father, Who is in Heaven.
18 And I
am telling you, that you
are Peter, and that upon this rock I shall build Me the Church, and the gates of
Hades shall not prevail over Her.
And I shall give you the keys of the
realm of heaven, and whosoever you shall
bind on earth, shall be bound in the heavens, and
whosoever you shall unbind on earth, shall be
unbound in the heavens.
20 Then He instructed His disciples
to not tell anyone that He is Jesus, the Christ
(=the anointed one).
These are the lines that the Papists use, to
convince us that the “rock” that Christ referred to was
supposedly Peter, and that ever since that moment, he was
also considered the exclusive overlord of the Church,
with full authority (being the “key-bearer”) in the heavenly
realm, and the salvation of all his brethren;
furthermore, that this authority is inherited by the ensuing Popes
of Rome, etc., etc..
Naturally, none of the above assertions is
correct! But let’s examine a few important details first:
The issue under discussion
We should notice, before anything else, that
the central theme of their conversation was NOT PETER,
but JESUS CHRIST Himself!
Specifically, Christ was asking His disciples:
do the people say that I, the son of man, am?”
and His disciples duly informed Him of the confusion that
prevailed among the outsiders.
Then He asked them:
say that I am?”
specific question is hastily answered by Peter, the most
effusive and most impulsive of the disciples: “You
are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Please note that,
up until this point, the exclusive topic of their
conversation was Christ’s identity! NOT
Peter entered the conversation on an impulse, to
reply to a question that was posed to
ALL of the disciples
who were present.
Peter’s reply pleased Christ, Who furthermore
informed him that those words were not his own, but
that it was God Himself who had revealed Christ’s true
identity to him. Christ made it clear to Peter that His
identity of “Son of God” –which had just been revealed to
him- was in fact a Divine Revelation.
Please also note that,
even though we are approaching the end of
this narration, the exclusive topic of the conversation is
still the identity of Christ! The only element that
has been added is that the detail of Christ being the
Son of God was a Divine Revelation.
Christ then continues His comment to Peter,
with a play on words:
I too say to you, that you are Peter,
and upon this
rock I shall build Me the Church, and the gates
of Hades shall not prevail over it.”
In those times, the Hellenic language was the
internationally spoken one; hence, the name “Petros”
that Christ chose to use was likewise a Hellenic one. Thus,
by making use of the Greek meaning for Peter’s name, Christ
made a play on words between “petra”
(rock) and Petros
(Peter), essentially telling him the following:
“Since My Father has revealed to you who I
am, I too shall provide you with a revelation: Just as you
are “Peter” (a solid rock),
so shall this
(that I am the Son of God)
be the solid rock
on which I shall build My Church.
And not even the gates of Hades will ever prevail over it
is the way that the Church has always perceived Christ’s
words, throughout the ages. The “rock” that Christ referred
to was NOT Peter; With the word “rock”, Christ was implying
the basis of the Christian Faith, the dogma, that “Christ is
the Son of the Living God”, which was
precisely the topic of their conversation, not the
person of Peter. Peter’s intervention was merely an
OPPORTUNITY that Christ utilized, to add His own revelation:
that the basis of His Church would
be His consubstantiality with the Father. Christ made it
clear from the very first moment, that this basis would be
so powerful, that not even the ‘gates of Hades’ (in
other words the heresies, through which one enters Hades)
would be able to overpower the Church! And
indeed, all of History has verified those words of Christ!
The Church is solidly seated on that “basis”, viz., the
dogma that Christ is the Son of the Living God. Furthermore, all of the innumerable heresies which have
appeared over Time have tried to negate that basis and
present Christ as a “creation” or as “only a man” or
whatever else; but none of them was able to impose its
positions on the Church and thus drag Her into Hades. Many
people have been led astray by these heresies and have been
led into Hades, but not the Church. The Church did not
become a heresy. She remained
firmly planted on that “rock”,
that basis that “Christ is the Son of the Living God”.
However, that is another, huge topic, which is not intended
for analysis for the moment.
So far, Christ has not diverted from the
topic of “Who He actually is”. This topic is the
basis of the conversation.
And this is where we enter upon the subject of this
Christ, now addressing Peter (and in the
presence of the other disciples), continues with the
I shall give you the keys of the realm of the heavens, and
whosoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in the
heavens, and whosoever you shall unbind on earth, shall be
unbound in the heavens.”
These words by Christ were now addressed
specifically to Peter; nevertheless, they were the
CONTINUATION of the words He had said previously. These
words are CHRIST’S OWN REVELATION to Peter. Because, after
telling Peter that His identity as “Son of God” was revealed
to Him by God, Christ hastened to add a revelation of His
it involved the matter they were discussing,
the dogma that
is the Son of God”
and also what would happen in the History of the Church,
with regard to that dogma.
Christ’s revelation to Peter, which pertained
to Peter specifically. This was a kind of reward, for his
inspired statement. It was also a reassurance that Peter
himself would have an active and central role in matters of
the Heavenly Realm. And, given that mention was made of
“the gates of Hades” that would not prevail over the Church,
Christ made reference to “keys” that would open the Heavenly
Kingdom, reassuring Peter that he would be receiving them.
Since the conversation regarding Christ’s
identity had now finished, Christ merely closed the subject
by instructing His disciples to not (yet) mention to anyone
that He is the Christ (the Anointed One). The time was not
ripe for this announcement by the Church.
Was it actually a case of exclusivity with
It is time now, to find out what those famous
“keys” were, that were given to Peter by the Lord. But
first of all, we should look into the following detail:
Was Peter really given
a certain exclusivity, as opposed
to the other disciples?
To help us out,
we shall use an example: If I were to say to one of my sons
“I will give you the keys to the house”, would this
automatically mean that I will be giving them ONLY to him?
Does it mean that I will NOT give the house keys to my
other children also? Of course not!
I may give the keys to one of my sons first, but I
will definitely give keys to the others afterwards! So, for
the Papists to insist that only Peter was given the
authority of “binding and unbinding whatever pertained to
the Heavenly Kingdom” is absolutely arbitrary and off the
The fact is,
the Holy Bible itself rebuts such a status of
I say to ye
that whatever ye
may bind on earth shall be binding in Heaven, and
may unbind on earth shall cease to be binding in Heaven.
Again I say to ye
that, when two of you should agree on earth on every
matter that they may petition, it shall be done to them,
by my Father in Heaven. For where there are two or three
congregated in my name, there shall I be, amongst them.”
Christ is speaking in the plural!
He is no longer addressing Peter
exclusively; He is addressing all the Apostles
who were present! And
according to the first verse of this chapter, these words
(the very same words that He said to Peter about binding and
unbinding) are now being said to all of His
disciples! It was the authority of Bishop, which He was
bestowing on ALL of His disciples, and to their
successors, the Bishops of the Church. So, this supposed
“unique” authority of the Pope -as Peter’s successor- is
entirely unfounded! ALL the Bishops of the Church are
successors, to ALL of the Apostles! And the authority
to bind and unbind consequently belongs to all of
them, and not just one of them.
Observe how Christ makes it absolutely clear
that this authority is valid, “when
should agree on earth”.
Not one (Peter), but two! In fact, further down
He even says THREE! (“…where
two or three congregated
in my name...”).
a Holy Synod has the authority that can “bind and
unbind”, and not one, sole Pontiff!
This same spirit underlies the words in
as soon as He had said this, He blew upon them and said to
them: Receive ye
"you") Holy Spirit; if
should forgive someone their sins, they shall be forgiven.
should bind them, they shall remain bound”.
Again we notice that the binding and
unbinding of sins was given to all of the apostles,
and not only to Peter. “Binding and unbinding” is not
the property of one apostle alone; it is the property of all
the Apostles, and of all the Bishops that the Apostles
appointed as their successors, by the authority that was
given to them.
But even if we conceded that –apart from the
confession “Son of God”- the words of Christ regarding the
“rock” had a secondary, parallel fulfillment in Peter
(as the foundation of the Church), again Peter is not alone!
the wall of the
upon which were
inscribed the twelve names of the twelve Apostles
of the Lamb…”
In other words, even if we accepted a
parallel, “latent” and smaller fulfillment of Christ’s words
(that Peter is understood to be the “rock” on which the
Church would be built), it STILL does not make him the ONLY
rock; indeed, the Book of Revelations presents him as one
rock among another 11, which bore the names of the other
The Church was indeed built upon the
foundation of the twelve Apostles, with Christ as Her
(“you have been set upon the foundation of the apostles
and the prophets, whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ Himself”
– Ephesians 2:20).
We are talking about Christ here, not Peter! And
when we speak of “the Cornerstone”, we are referring
precisely to the admission: “You are the Christ, the Son
of the Living God”!!!
Consequently, there is no exclusivity that is
linked to Peter alone, the way the Papists want to present
it in order to support the Pope’s monarchy. What does
exist is the exclusivity of the Apostles and their
successors, the Bishops. This was the authority that
the Christians throughout the ages understood Christ to be
implying, and not the Pope’s!
Having been given the authority to “bind and
unbind”, Peter (and all the other Apostles, as well as their
successors, the Bishops) were enabled to forgive or to
withhold someone’s sins, to set down laws and regulations
for the operation of the Church, and to place themselves or
whoever they wanted into the Kingdom of God !!! Provided
This is not an authority of arbitrariness and
transgression, but an authority that functions in
collaboration and condescension with the Head of the Church,
What Peter’s “exclusivity” actually was
But, to be fair, it appears that
there was, finally, a certain degree of exclusivity
with Peter! Not the way that the Papists understood it (or
introduced it, as an understanding thereof), but something
Indicatively, we could underline the
said those words to Peter first.
said them to Peter, even though He also had the other
Disciples with Him.
though He said those same words later on to the others,
nevertheless, the first time that He said them as a
prophecy, He said them ESPECIALLY to Peter, whereas He could
have included the other Disciples right from the beginning,
when making this prophetic statement about “binding and
though He said the same words to the other Disciples later
the part about the
to the Kingdom”
was told ONLY to Peter. I wonder why?
We must keep in mind that nothing in the Holy
Bible is perchance. And these preceding observations must
preoccupy us. Could it be, finally, that “something
else” applied in Peter’s case, for the remaining Disciples
to not be a part of it? And
As we have shown earlier along, this
“exclusivity” was not an issue pertaining to salvation, nor
was it an exclusivity of authority, or an exclusivity of
forgiveness, or an exclusivity to “bind and unbind”; because
all these powers were given to each one of the Apostles. So, what was it about? What separated Peter from the other
Apostles? (Especially with regard to “the keys to the
Kingdom of Heaven”, that God entrusted to him).
Now stop to think about the following:
do keys play their major role?
When the door is already open, or while it is still shut?
does He speak of “keys” and not “a key”?
if He had given the same authority to
make someone STAND OUT from the others
as a “key-bearer”, given that all of them had
With these questions, something
is now beginning to clear up! So, we shall move on to the
was the Kingdom of Heaven closed to?
did the Kingdom of Heaven open?
it open straight away, for everyone, or was it opened in
Now things are becoming even
Which brings us to the last questions that will help us
solve the riddle:
Disciple was the first to open the Kingdom of Heaven?
did he open it, and for who?
a door is unlocked by someone and is left open, what need is
there for someone else to lock it again? What would
someone’s keys be worth, if the need never arises to use
Are there Scriptural passages that give us information on
To begin with the last question, we reply:
THERE MOST CERTAINLY ARE!! The Holy Bible
provides us with an answer to all these questions, and it
reveals very eloquently the way that
Peter used the keys to the Heavenly Kingdom,
before the others!
The Kingdom of Heaven,
in Jesus Christ
of the sheep"
according to John the Evangelist, in
chapt.10), was opened on the Day of the Pentecost,
upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit among the congregated
Disciples of the Lord. It was on that day that the
Christian Church came into being. What happened on that
day? Let’s take a look at the Holy Bible’s narration, in a
The entry of the Judeans into the Kingdom
when the Day of the Pentecost came, they were all of one
accord, in the same place. And suddenly a noise was heard
from the heavens, like a rush of wind, and it filled the
house in which they were seated. Then tongues like flames
appeared above them, which separated and sat above each one
of them separately. And they all became filled with the
Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in foreign tongues, the
way that the Spirit gave them to speak. And in Jerusalem,
there dwelled Judeans, pious men from every nation
that exists under the sun….”
after standing up together with the eleven,
raised his voice and spoke to them:
Judea, and all of you who dwell in Jerusalem, let
this be known to you, and hearken to my words……“
And when they heard these things,
their heart mellowed,
and they said to
and to the remaining Apostles: What must we do, brethren
said to them: Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ, in absolution of his sins; and ye
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit;
the promise is for you and for your children, and for all
those afar, whosoever the Lord our God may invite. And with
many other words did he plead and prompt, saying: “Save
yourselves from this perverted
generation”. Thus, after gladly accepting his word, they
were all baptized. And on that day, about three thousand
souls were added. And they remained faithful to the
teaching of the Apostles, and to the community, and to the
cutting of bread and to the prayers…”
We therefore observe here, that the first
step was the entry of the Judeans into the realm of the
Heavenly Kingdom, through their baptism in water and in the
Holy Spirit, thus making 3000 people members of the Church.
was the one who took the lead in the Apostles’ speech, and
also the one who –filled as he was with the Holy Spirit- had
said to the Judeans present that they would enter the realm
of the Kingdom.
He was therefore the one who FIRST opened the
Kingdom of Heaven - for the Judeans!
The entry of the Samaritans into the Kingdom
Some time later, a persecution took place in
Jerusalem on account of the martyrdom of the First Martyr
Stephen, and the Christians scattered throughout the land,
for fear of the persecuting Jews (among whom was Saul /
Paul, who had not yet converted to the Christian faith). The
on that day there was
an immense persecution
against the Church that was in Jerusalem and
the lands of Judea and Samaria,
except for the Apostles.
As for Philip: after descending to the city of Samaria, he
preached Christ to them.
And the crowds, as though one soul, paid
attention to the things spoken by Philip, hearing about and
witnessing the miracles that he performed.
But, when they believed in Philip, who was
preaching the things related to the kingdom of God and the
name of Jesus Christ, both the men and the women came to be
the Apostles, who were in Jerusalem,
when hearing that Samaria had received the word of God,
sent to them Peter
who, after going there, prayed for them,
so that they
would receive the Holy Spirit,
because it had not descended upon any of
them, as they were only baptized in the name of Jesus
Therefore, according to this narration, even
though the evangelist Philip had preached the word and had
also baptized the Samaritans, the door to the Kingdom was
still shut for them! The Holy Spirit had not yet been given
to them! I wonder why?
The Samaritans were neither Jews, nor
Gentiles. They were something in between. Their forefathers
were people who had been transported to that region after
the destruction of the State of Israel by the Assyrians and
they had believed in the God of Israel. In other words, they
were not idolaters. But they did have a peculiarity: they
did not accept all of the Hebrew Scriptures, only the
Pentateuch, and they did not
worship God in Jerusalem, according to the Law of Moses.
They were, in a way, a heresy of Judaism. And while the door
to the Kingdom had been opened from the Day of the Pentecost
for the Jews, for the Samaritans it was still shut! Even
after they had believed in the sermons of Philip the
evangelist! Although they had been baptized in water, God
had nevertheless not sent them His Holy Spirit!
The Apostles, therefore, sent
(again) and John, to place their hands upon them and pray so
that they might transmit the Holy Spirit to them. In other
would be opening the door to the Kingdom, this time to the
Samaritans, for the first time!
It is not by chance that for a second time,
Peter (together with John this time), uses the keys to the
Kingdom of Heaven. Peter, for the second consecutive time,
is the one who unlocks the door to salvation for another
group of people, on the basis of the Apostolic authority
that was given to him by the Lord.
With this opportunity, it is important for us
to note two more things:
an act that proves he was
something exceptional among the other Apostles, as far as
authority was concerned.
On the contrary,
it shows that he was in fact obeisant to the
missions that the Body of the Apostles sent him on.
SENT TOGETHER WITH
an act signifying that TOGETHER they unlocked
the Kingdom of Heaven for the Samaritans. Therefore, Peter
was NOT the sole “key-bearer” of the Kingdom; it was
possible for any of the other Apostles to act with him!
Quite simply, Peter was the only one who was present during
EVERY NEW OPENING of the Kingdom for new groups of people,
as we shall see further along.
The entry of the Gentiles into the Kingdom
Following the entry of the Samaritans, one
more group of people (the largest) was now left, for which
the Kingdom of Heaven was not yet open. And they were the
Gentiles. What was Peter’s role in the history of the
Gentiles’ entry into the Kingdom? Well, the narration in
Acts is quite enlightening:
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius,
a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He
and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave
generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One
day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He
distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said,
"Cornelius!" Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it,
Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and
gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before
send men to Joppa to bring back a man named
Simon who is known as “Peter”. He is staying with Simon
the tanner, whose house is by the sea." When the angel who
spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants
and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told
them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
About noon the following day as they were on
their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the
roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat,
and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a
trance. He saw heavens
opened and something like a large sheet being let down to
earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of
four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and
birds of the air. Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter.
Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have
never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to
him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has
made clean." This happened three times, and immediately the
sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering
about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius
found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.
They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was
staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the
vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are
looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not
hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." Peter
went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking
for. Why have you come?" The men replied, "We have come from
Cornelius the centurion.
He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by
all the Jewish people.
A holy angel told him to have you come to his
house so that he could hear what you have to say." Then
Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
The next day Peter started out with them, and
some of the brothers from Joppa went along.
The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was
expecting them and had called together his relatives and
Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his
feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he
said, "I am only a man myself." Talking with him, Peter went
inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to
them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a
Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.
But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure
So when I was sent for, I came without
raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
“Behold, we are all standing before God, to
listen to everything that was commanded to you by God. Then,
as Peter opened his mouth, he said: “Truly, I know that God
is not discriminatory, but, in every nation, whosoever fears Him
and does works of justice, He shall be acceptable to Him.”
While Peter was still saying these words,
the Holy Spirit came over all of those who were listening to
his speech. And
the faithful who were of the circumcision, who had come
along with Peter, were astonished that the gift of the Holy
Spirit poured forth over all nations; for they heard them
speaking in tongues and magnifying God.
Peter remarked: Is there anyone who will obstruct the
water, so that these people not be baptized, even though
they have received the Holy Spirit like we have? So
he instructed them to be baptized
in the name of the Lord.”
Thus opened the door to the Kingdom for the
Gentiles also. However, this door did not open
“automatically”. It needed the “doorman”, the “key-bearer”
of that Kingdom, who was to receive this new group of
people. And of course he could have been none other than
Couldn’t God have opened that door, without
Peter? Couldn’t an angel preach to them? And yet! The keys
to the Kingdom were given to Apostles.
Besides, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had
promised the unlocking of the Kingdom to Peter! That is why,
Peter’s summoning, no-one’s entry into the
Kingdom would be completed: Before Peter’s
invitation, the Jews HAD NOT been
baptized. Before Peter had transmitted the Holy
Spirit to the baptized Samaritans
together with John, they
WERE NOT REBORN in the Holy Spirit. And before Peter
had preached the Gospel to Cornelius the Gentile, God had
not given the Holy Spirit to any Gentile. Furthermore,
without Peter’s instruction for Cornelius’ entire
household to be baptized - without that baptism -
his rebirth would have been partial,
and the door to the Kingdom still closed.
It was Peter who first confessed that
“Christ is the Son of the Living God”. And Christ, as a
reward, promised him that
he would be the first to
open up the Kingdom, to each new group of people in mankind.
And the Lord kept His promise!
He did NOT promise Peter any paramount
authority, above all the other Apostles; but He did promise
to give him “keys” and indeed, Peter was the one who
UNLOCKED the Kingdom of God for the first time. And God also
did not allow anyone into that Kingdom, before Peter had
given his consent, with the Apostolic authority of “binding
and unbinding” that was given to him.
(And this “first time” at unlocking is, by
nature, something that cannot be transmitted to any Pope...)